What is Aquaculture? (with photos)

Salmon is a type of fish created through aquaculture.

Aquaculture is the cultivation of aquatic plants or animals for all or part of their life cycles, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The practice is primarily known for its application in fisheries, but it’s not the only thing aquaculture can be used for. It also applies to oysters, shrimp and other animals that are not traditionally considered aquaculture.

Some crustaceans, such as oysters, can be successfully farmed through aquaculture.

Aquaculture has several benefits. First, it allows natural populations of fish to reproduce while farm-raised versions are used for food. This helps the sustainability of some highly sought after fish. It also means that fish are easier to find.

Pearls are another product produced through aquaculture. They are known as cultured pearls and are produced in both fresh and salt water. The oysters are implanted with a core that it will eventually use to form the pearl, which takes chance out of the equation. While natural pearls in many cases are much more valuable, cultured pearls are easier to produce and more plentiful, which is why their value is lower.

Catfish and trout are the two fish most commonly raised through aquaculture.

In the United States, catfish and trout are two of the most commonly farmed fish in aquaculture. These species do well in a controlled environment and produce a relatively quick profit. While they typically don’t get as big as their natural counterparts, simply because they don’t live as long, they usually grow faster, being fed supplements in addition to natural foods.

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Pearls are produced through aquaculture.

In some circles, aquaculture has been criticized for the way it generates its products and some of its environmental impacts. For example, farm-raised salmon often does not have the same health benefits as wild salmon, due to dietary issues and a lack of ability to swim in large open spaces as is natural. In addition, they are given supplements that affect growth, hormones, and even the color of their meat.

Critics of aquaculture also suggest that the practice supports large agricultural companies rather than small farmers and fishermen. The costs of starting and maintaining an aquaculture operation can sometimes be prohibitive for many who wish to get involved. Therefore, in many cases, the only ones able to enter the business are those who have substantial capital to spend. They are usually big companies.

Others say that aquaculture is an important part of environmental management. The technology has now reached a point where species can be harvested at rates that far exceed the species’ ability to reproduce. Therefore, the only way to sustain wild populations may be to supplement those populations with farm-raised versions of the species. In fact, those who support aquaculture activities believe that the practice is the key to good environmental practice.

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